“It’s a good thing I am self-motivated,” said a good friend in a client organization. “Because if I was looking for appreciation or validation from my boss, I’d be waiting an eternity.” Sadly, this sentiment is not unique. Employee survey research repeatedly shows that a significant segment of the workforce feels underappreciated at work. Which is deeply ironic. Because employee motivation research also unequivocally shows that employees who are appreciated for their contributions and recognized for their achievements are vastly more satisfied, engaged, motivated and productive than those who are not.
So what should you do?
So what should you do if you feel underappreciated by your immediate supervisor? Learn to suck it up and live with it? Well, no. Just because the boss doesn’t appreciate you doesn’t mean there isn’t value in making sure that your worth is recognized beyond just your immediate department. If your boss isn’t spreading the word about your good work, then it’s time to toot your own horn. And yes, if done correctly, it won’t come across as arrogant or conceited or boastful.
Share the spotlight
If you get an email from a client waxing poetic about how they “couldn’t have done it without you”, then forward it on to those on your team who played a role to acknowledge their efforts, and don’t forget to cc the boss. If you get a compliment from another department or an external colleague, then bask in the glow, and ask them if they’ll send you (or the boss) a short note so that you can let the rest of the team know. If you receive an award or an accolade from your professional network, then put it out into your social media channels so that it can be shared and celebrated. Include photographs or video if it’s available. You see what I’m doing here, right? By sharing the spotlight, you not only get to celebrate your accomplishments, but also do it in a way that is humble and modest.
Bottom line: my friend had it right when he said that he’d be waiting an eternity if he was expecting his boss to come through with appreciation. So it’s up to us then to take matters into our own hands to ensure that we receive the acknowledgement and recognition that we deserve.
P.S. I have one more idea to share on this topic, and I’ll blog about it next week. However, in the meantime, I’d love to hear from you. What are you doing about the boss who is leaving you underappreciated? Are you taking matters into your own hands? Or are you okay with the lack of acknowledgement? Do share.